Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Boiling Pot Called Kashmir - 2

An interesting Editorial in the Rising Kashmir

Need to Rethink

The fresh protest calendar by Hurriyat Conference (G) is out. It is no different from the previous calendars given by the conglomerate even as people in general expected a “better deal” this time keeping in view the festival of Eid. For the past over two months normal life in Kashmir has come to a grinding halt owing to protests which were fuelled largely by the killing of innocents at the hands of CRPF and Police.

People have been genuinely protesting against the atrocities being perpetrated by the forces and the anger is justified. Whatever the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani has asked people to do during this period they have religiously followed that showing that he holds sway over people. No doubt the sufferings have increased manifold with huge losses to businesses and education sector. But the people in general have echoed their support to the programme keeping in view the sacrifices given for a larger cause. The motivation for supporting such a programme is also the feeling that it is a “now or never” game. Whether that is a genuine feeling needs to be understood in a proper context.

While people followed the calendars of past weeks they had to face the brunt of continued curfews by the government. Government has also failed to come to the grips and sensitize itself with the problems people have been facing. There is shortage of medicines and even babies have been deprived of milk due to curfew and other restrictions. Two months is a long time and there is no end in sight as New Delhi is yet to wake up over Kashmir. It has only resorted to usual rhetoric and generalization that it was ready to talk with any group. There is no definition of this “offer” which could pave way for some kind of reconciliation. Political deadlock is further worsening the situation in Kashmir and a practical approach is needed to provide an opening for political engagement. But that has to come with any conditions. Meanwhile, ahead of Eid people expected a longer breather as the businesses have been shut and flow of financial transactions has come to a naught. One day before the Eid, which probably will fall on Friday or Saturday and in a latter case, the following day is also supposed be shut, is not enough. It is true that the blood spilled by forces on the streets has not disappeared and no real celebrations can be expected but at the same time, a longer break under the guise of Eid is much more needed. No doubt that the real source of livelihood in this place is dependent on the salaries of government employees and they may get it ahead of Eid but the private sector is going through the worst crisis. Since there is no work, the flow of money is at lowest ebb putting the businesses in danger. According to a rough estimate 60,000 people have lost their jobs in hospitality sector alone. There is no doubt that people here are wedded to the cherished goal of Azadi and have extended full support to all the programmes. But a “better deal” on the eve of Eid is inevitable. Hurriyat should rethink over the fresh calendar.

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